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northern kentucky university

summer 2010 volume 8, no. 4


Super Hero NKU alumna Galadriel Stineman stars in Cartoon Network movie



service learning


winners summer 2010

A m e s s ag e f ro m t h e p re s i d e n t “Next year, we’ll celebrate the grand opening of Griffin Hall, our state-of-the-art Center for Informatics. Yes, it’s not just the flowers that are in bloom here in Highland Heights this summer.” Is there a more beautiful time of year in Northern Kentucky than summer? The flowers are in bloom, and the Northern Kentucky University campus has never looked so magnificent. For those who haven’t been on campus in awhile, you might not recognize the place. We fought for decades to get a special events center, and today The Bank of Kentucky Center is home to our men’s and women’s basketball teams and to some of the region’s most popular entertainment acts. Years ago, our students committed to funding a new facility to replace the University Center as the social hub of our campus. Today, the magnificent Student Union has transformed NKU. In April we celebrated the opening of our gorgeous new soccer complex by hosting one of the nation’s premier Division I spring tournaments. Next year, we’ll celebrate the grand opening of Griffin Hall, our stateof-the-art Center for Informatics. Yes, it’s not just the flowers that are in bloom here in Highland Heights this summer. And speaking of Division I athletics, you may have heard recently that we have concluded our D-I feasibility study. Based on the report we received from NACDA Consulting, we learned that the university is well positioned for a transition to Division I athletics. The study concluded that our size, academic programs, location and facilities are all a good fit for D-I. Unfortunately, making the move will cost an additional $3-$4 million per year. We’ve

made tremendous progress over the past several years enhancing our athletics programs and facilities, but we have some more work to do. While I strongly believe that moving to Division I is the right move for NKU, moving to Division I in the face of current strong financial uncertainty is not prudent. As conditions improve, we will certainly revisit this question. In the meantime, we will continue to expand support for athletics as we can to further strengthen our preparation for a future move to Division I. Inside this edition of Northern magazine you’ll learn about Galadriel Stineman, a 2007 informatics graduate who has already starred in a full-length Cartoon Network feature film called Ben 10: Alien Swarm and stars alongside Vivica A. Fox in a gritty psychological-horror-thriller called Junkyard Dog. You may also recognize Galadriel from a recent Sprint commercial that also features Flava Flav. You’ll also read about a milestone for our award-winning public radio station, 89.7 WNKU, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Other features include profiles of our alumni award winners and a nice article about some of the service-learning projects taking place at NKU. I’ll conclude with a message to those alumni who have been affected most by the economic downturn. I know that these are challenging and frustrating times. For many industries, the job market is as dry as it’s been in decades. Read the article on what some recent graduates are doing to improve their prospects of finding employment in the current job climate. The story includes a number of tips from the NKU Career Development Center on things such as how best to brand yourself, how to network and how to keep a positive outlook even in the most difficult of times. I hope that you and your family are enjoying this beautiful summer. Thank you for your continued support of Northern Kentucky University.

President James Votruba


Co nt en t s

NORTHERN S u m m e r 2 0 1 0





president’s page


NKU alumna Galadriel Stineman stars in Ben 10 movie



norse nuggets

Reds Rally Pack



northern news

Job search lifeline


NKU Career Development Center helps alumni and undergraduates


Rockin’ your radio


northern athletics

super hero



WNKU celebrates 25 years of great music

alumni journal



Extending our reach

class notes

Service learning helps the community while giving NKU students valuable experience


alumni awards

On t h e c o v e r :

Galadriel Stineman with the cast of Ben 10-Alien Storm. Read more on page 12.

N o r t h e r n m a g a z i n e i s n o w o n l i n e ! Check out web-only features

at There, you’ll find updates to these articles and additional information exclusive to the web.

N EW L E A F PA P E R environmental benefits statement Northern Kentucky University saved the following resources by using New Leaf Reincarnation made with 100% recycled fiber, 50% post-consumer waste, and processed chlorine free.





fully grown



solid waste

greenhouse gases




million BTUs



Calculation based on research by Environmental Defense and other members of the Paper Task Force.

©2006 New Leaf Paper



volume 8, no. 4



Rob Pasquinucci ’09

designer Dionne Laycock ’90

copy Editor Tira Rogers ’01, ’05

photographer Timothy D. Sofranko

publisher Deidra S. Fajack Director of Alumni Programs Gerard A. St. Amand Vice President for University Advancement

CONTRIBUTORS Carolyn Blair ’07 Ashley Anglin ’09 Trevor Burlew ’10

Alumni association executive committee Christopher A. Sturm ’95, President Lee Rose ’96, President-elect Gregory L. Cole ’82, Vice President Bryson P. Lair ’95, Past President Deidra S. Fajack, Secretary/Treasurer

CORRESPONDENCE Northern Kentucky University Office of Alumni Programs 421 Johns Hill Road Highland Heights, Kentucky 41099 phone: (859) 572-5486 web: e-mail:

NORTHERN is published three times a year by the Office of Alumni Programs at Northern Kentucky University for its graduates, donors and friends. Copyright 2008, Northern Kentucky University.

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Flying High The NKU Cheerleading program once again received top honors at the National Collegiate Cheerleading Competition, winning the Small Co-Ed Division National Championship this year. Here, team member and NKU junior Emily McKnight demonstrates the team’s work in front of the NKU sign.


summer 2010


Norse Nuggets


Alumni e-mail Want to get an e-mail address? Alumni can now sign up for an NKU e-mail account. Details are provided at it.nku. edu/cioblog/index.php/ home/140-alumni-e-mail.

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NKU Construction Management Students Developing Proposal for Reliable Housing in Haiti A group of students from Northern Kentucky University is working to develop a proposal that will provide permanent and reliable housing for nearly 500 people in Haiti who have been affected by January’s devastating earthquake there.

Entrepreneurship book At NKU, dreamers are welcome. NKU has a heckuva lot of alumni who’ve dreamed of starting their own businesses – and boy, have they succeeded. Find out the secrets of their success in this book, which features stories about NKU entrepreneurs written by NKU students. Order the book online at

Camps ahoy Whatever your child’s sport or interest, NKU has a summer camp for you. Check out nkuconnections. for more information.

you can do with it, the more money we’re gonna raise


The longer our hair is, the more

for the Alzheimer’s Association. TKE member Travis Southworth, on participating in his fraternity’s haircut benefit for Alzheimer’s disease.

It was our goal to send you forth in the world to be great practitioners in your chosen fields. But it was also our goal to send you forth to be great stewards of your community. Dr. James Votruba during his commencement address

Trash or treasure? Ever wonder how many bottles NKU uses on an average day? During this year’s RecycleMania project, NKU students, faculty and staff could guess to earn prizes. It turns out we use 2,562 bottles each day. The campus is looking to reduce these numbers each year. For more information, visit green.

Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky Made possible by hundreds of generous benefactors and dedicated volunteers, The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky celebrates the people, places and events of our rich heritage. Published by the University Press of Kentucky, it was edited by NKU professors Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool.

Tervis Tumblers Show your Norse pride while keeping beverages cold (or hot) with these unbreakable Tervis Tumblers. Available in large or small size, the clear plastic tumblers feature the NKU logo and the NKU athletics logo.

nku buzz

summer 2010





Cyber attack Data networks control the U.S. power grid, military operations, telecommunications, banking and transportation. If an enemy launched a cyber attack, it could cripple the economy and cost lives. Fortunately, a group of NKU informatics students is ready to help, showing their ability to defend a mock cyber attack in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in March. The NKU team finished third, ahead of all other non Ph.D.-granting universities in the competition. The SECCDC is an intense three-day event that places teams of eight students into a high-pressure environment simulating the operational aspects of protecting an existing network while under attack, in the face of a stream of business demands.

A new version of the iPhone and iPod Touch NKU application is available. The new app features NKU’s Find-it! campus directory and RSS news feeds. The application still contains the NKU fight song, an NKU trivia game and a glossary of terms with minor updates to graphics and sound effects. To download the new application, visit the Apple App store on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

College of Informatics and TANK deliver route alerts A new technology resource from the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky and the Northern Kentucky University College of Informatics helped keep TANK customers out of the cold and on schedule this winter. The technology, a system called myTANK Alerts, allows Northern Kentucky bus riders to receive important customized route alerts to their mobile device or e-mail inbox. In the past, similar information was only delivered to passengers who visited the TANK website. Now the information is proactively delivered to riders. In addition, the information is customized to meet the needs of individual riders. When subscribing to myTANK Alerts, individuals are able to select the routes that matter to them. This ensures only the most pertinent information reaches each rider. no rth e r n

Save the Date

NKU Alumni Association Golf Outing Friday, August 27 at Kenton County Golf Courses. Information and registration at

NKU Basketball at University of Louisville Arena

Saturday, October 30 at the new downtown arena. Information and ticket purchase at

New programs offer career opportunities

alumni lecture

Healthcare, the economy, the Tea Party, national security and political vulnerability. This November promises to be one of the most fascinating midterm elections in our nation’s history, and on October 27 two of America’s most respected political minds will come together for the 11th annual Northern Kentucky University Alumni Lecture to discuss these and other pressing issues. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will present “Governing in America: The Battle at the Ballot Box” 6:308:30 p.m. in the NKU Student Union ballroom. The NKU Alumni Lecture is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door. Ticket prices are $40 for the general public, $35 for NKU alumni/faculty/staff and $10 for students. Tickets for the pre-event reception and lecture may be purchased for $100. The pre-event reception begins at 5 p.m. in the University Center ballroom, and the Alumni Lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Union ballroom. Seating for the event is limited. For more information, visit or call (859) 572-5370.


NKU recently launched two new certificate programs that offer career opportunities for professionals hit hardest by these challenging economic times. The NKU certificate in healthcare technology and the NKU certificate in business process analysis are offered exclusively for individuals who are eligible, dislocated workers under the Workforce Investment Act. The funds are provided through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The certificates are adapted from coursework in NKU’s fully accredited undergraduate programs in business informatics and will be provided in an intensive 12-week integrated lecture and lab format in which students will experience hands-on exercises reinforcing practical computer skills. “These certificates are designed to provide skills that will dramatically improve the employability of individuals,” said Dr. Ben Martz, chair of NKU’s business informatics program. “We are concentrating on the skills that employers tell us they want in their employees.”

NKU honored

Northern Kentucky University took home nine awards in February, including two Grand Gold at the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District III awards in Tampa, Fla. This shot by NKU photographer Timothy D. Sofranko was honored by the organization. summer 2010


Community Garden


Lincoln Award Winners

NKU students living in Callahan Hall might be able to skip the walk to local restaurants for dinner and grow their own food outside of the residence hall. Callahan Hall is the location of one of the three community gardens planned for Highland Heights. Faculty, staff, students and community members can use the garden to grow food in a plot in the space. For more information on the garden, contact Gayle Hilleke at

Northern Kentucky University presented the 19th annual Lincoln Award to Raymond J. Brokamp, Thomas G. Cody, Jr., and Kimberly A. Brooks Tandy April 28 in the NKU Student Union ballroom. The university established the Lincoln Award to honor residents or former residents of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana who exemplify the qualities of outstanding citizenship, notable achievement and distinguished service in their professions and contributions to the Northern Kentucky or Greater Cincinnati community. Raymond J. Brokamp was a career educator in the Cincinnati Public Schools system who went on to lead Leadership Cincinnati for more than two decades. Thomas G. Cody, Jr., is vice chairperson of Macy’s, Inc., and president of Macy’s Foundation. After a 25-year career, he will retire this spring. Kimberly A. Brooks Tandy ’78 Chase ’89 is executive director and founder of the Children’s Law Center, Inc. In addition to her work with the Children’s Law Center, she has served as an adjunct professor at the NKU Chase College of Law since 1992.

Soccer stadium open NKU’s new soccer stadium is open for business and recently hosted schools from around the region for a tournament. The new field is located adjacent to The Bank of Kentucky Center and has seating for 1,000, locker rooms and a fully equipped athletics training facility. NKU used land from the city of Highland Heights (which recently annexed NKU) for the stadium. The new NKU soccer stadium will be championship caliber and will allow NKU to host sporting events, including NCAA championship tournaments, and Kentucky High School Athletic Association district, regional and state championships. Additionally, the school will benefit from having lighted facilities with adequate seating. The facility will officially open during soccer season September 12. no rth e r n

Women’s basketball head coach Nancy Winstel was named 2010 Judy Clabes Lifetime Achievement Award recipient by the Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky program. She also was named the national coach of the decade this year. She was recognized at the Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky awards luncheon April 27. Winstel, who just completed her 27th season as head coach at NKU, reached the 600-win plateau as a college coach in 2009 and guided NKU to a pair of NCAA Division II national championships.

Soccer stars receive all-Midwest honors Northern Kentucky University’s Steven Beattie and Braden Bishop were honored as All-Midwest Region players by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Beattie earned a spot on the first team while Bishop was named to the second team. Beattie, a junior attacker from Skerries, Ireland, surpassed Chad Scott to become NKU’s all-time leading scorer this season. Beattie found the net 19 times in 2009 and has claimed 51 goals over his three seasons with the Norse. Beattie also shared the team lead with six assists last season. Eight of his 19 goals on the year proved to be game winners – including an overtime goal against Southern Indiana to send NKU to a 2-1 victory. Beattie was also named a first-team All-American and Midwest Region Player of the Year by Daktronics as well as the Great Lakes Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Bishop, a senior forward from Centerville, Ohio, ended his collegiate career as one of the top scorers in NKU history by notching 46 career goals, which ranks second all-time at the school. Bishop added 10 goals this season along with a team-high six assists. Bishop was a four-time All-GLVC performer while also earning the GLVC Freshman of the Year award in 2006 and Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2007.

Palmer picked for all-GLVC team Men’s basketball player David Palmer’s excellent season earned him a spot on the All-Great Lakes Valley Conference first team. Palmer, a 6-foot-9 senior center, dominated the inside much of the season for the Norse and averaged 17.3 points per game. Palmer also led the team in rebounding at 8.3 boards per contest, and he is shooting 54 percent from the field. Palmer blocked 48 shots, which ranked third in the GLVC. He collected seven double-doubles and helped NKU post a 15-12 record going into the GLVC tournament.

Runner of the year Northern Kentucky University’s Drew Harris has been named the state’s college-division Runner of the Year by the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. Harris, a graduate of Campbell County High School, posted a 16thplace finish at the NCAA Division II men’s cross country national finals and earned All-America honors for his performance. Harris, competing as an individual in the field of 182 runners at the nationals, completed the 10-kilometer course in a time of 31:51.1. He also finished runner-up at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships in the fall of 2009. summer 2010


Winstel’s lifetime achievement award


super hero


Galadriel Stineman

NKU alumna stars in

Ben 10 movie STORY Rob Pasquinucci

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Galadriel Stineman wants an action figure.

The 2007 College of Informatics graduate’s character in Ben 10, the Cartoon Network feature film she stars in, can shoot energy out of her hands to defend her band of teenagers from aliens and other foes, but there isn’t a toy version of her yet. “It’s actually a bitter subject with me,” Galadriel said with a laugh. “They have so many characters out, but as of yet there is no Gwen action figure. You’d think for all the boy (action figures) they would throw in a girl.” But the lack of a mini plastic version of her character is a mere blip in the budding career of Galadriel Stineman, who moved to L.A. after graduation to pursue an acting career. She’s already had two film roles and was in a recent Sprint wireless commercial (she played a teenager whose dad “pocket dials” rapper Flava Flave). Action figure or not, Stineman is on the move. The right time Stineman chose to study radio/television to give her the flexibility she needed as an undergraduate. She was also involved in extracurricular activities, including Delta Zeta sorority. Stineman also got some on-camera time both on campus and in the community. “We did everything from commercials to voiceovers to russ Proctor industrials,” Stineman said. “If you’re going to start acting, these are the things you need to learn how to do.” Stineman was ready to go on to graduate school after receiving her communication degree, but she knew the time was right to give acting a shot. So she packed up her car and headed west. “It was terrifying. I put all my savings into (the move) and had no indication that it’s what I should be doing. I just had to believe in myself and hope that would be enough,” Stineman said. “I knew this was the time.” But almost as soon as Stineman arrived in L.A., a writers’ strike shut down most movie and TV production – and prevented any chance for her to audition. When the strike ended, she got a “callback” (second audition) for a dark horror film called Junkyard Dog. A telephone call from her agent after the audition gave her good news – she got the part. “Until you book something, I don’t think you’re ever really convinced you’re going to work,” Stineman said. NKU communication professor Russ Proctor isn’t surprised by Stineman’s success. He said she consistently was well prepared for class, and he still uses one of her papers as an example for current students to strive for. “Anything she put her mind to, she did well,” Proctor said. “She was a terrific student but also was sunny, friendly and outgoing, which made her fun to teach.” “When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it. My dog started freaking out... I was jumping around and spinning around,” Stineman said. “I called my mom right away to

“Anything she put her mind to, she did well .”

summer 2010


“If you’re the one person at the end who gets the role, you feel like you’ve won the lottery.” Galadriel Stineman tell her. It was definitely one of those memories I hold on to. It was a pretty exciting thing at that point in my career.” The shooting schedule for the film was tight, and Stineman had to dive into the production. “I didn’t even know how to read the production schedule,” she said. Luckily, Vivica Fox, who is also in the film, showed Stineman the ropes and remains a friend and mentor. Super powers Next up for Stineman was her role in the Cartoon Network’s live-action film based on the Ben 10 series of cartoons, which aired in November 2009. She plays Gwen Tennyson, the cousin of the show’s namesake, Ben Tennyson, and often is the voice of reason when the band of teenagers gets in trouble. Although Stineman can’t shoot energy at enemies without the help of CGI, she says she shares Gwen’s fierce loyalty and her coolness under pressure. WEB EXTRA : Visit Getting the role wasn’t easy. “It was a long audition process. They went through northernmagazine.nku. hundreds of performers, including many more established actresses,” Stineman said. edu for videos from Ben “If you’re the one person at the end who gets the role, you feel like you’ve won the 10 and WNKU’s interview lottery.” with Stineman. The film was a different experience than Junkyard Dog. Since it was based on a beloved cartoon, the network paid close attention to details, down to the blue cardigan sweater Gwen wears, since fans will look closely at what the characters wear. “I can’t even tell you how many blue cardigans are in production out there, because I tried on every single one of them,” Stineman said. The film is action packed with car chases and alien battles. Stineman did some of the safer stunts while a gymnast did some of the more acrobatic moves. After the filming wrapped up (most of it was shot in Georgia), Stineman joined the Ben 10 cast as the movie premiered around the world. “It’s huge here, and it’s really big overseas,” Stineman said. The film has been translated into 40 or more languages, and the Mexican premiere was held at a stadium with 50,000 fans. Stineman has been impressed with how many female “Gwen” fans are out there. “Which is good, because I think Gwen is a good role model,” Stineman said. “I would’ve loved Gwen when I was younger.” Stineman is hoping for more work after her initial success in Hollywood. She realizes her youthful appearance makes her a natural to play very young roles. “At some point I’d like to reach puberty as an actor,” Stineman said, laughing. “But, really, the reason why I have been given so many opportunities out there is because I look young. If you have the look they want, you fit and they think you’re talented, you have a shot. Sometimes I hate (being typecast as a teenager), but it’s been my saving grace.”

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allying the Reds


NKU alumni and undergraduates rally the crowd at the ballpark etween innings at any given Reds game, you might see two NKU alumni and three current students grab their guns, run out on the dugout roof and start yelling. They won’t get arrested, but they will stir up the crowd – they are members of the Reds Rally Pack, a 14-member pep squad that revs up the fans between innings. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had at a job,” said Kelly Sirk, ’08, who loves hamming it up in front of the crowd at games. Sirk isn’t afraid of joking around – she does standup comedy at local clubs (her day job is at Great American Insurance).

Joining Sirk is Ashley Tomlin, ’08. The two have been on the Reds Rally Pack team for four years. There are also three NKU undergraduates on the squad: Senior Kailyn Gast and juniors Emma Woeste and Nick Metzger. “The fans in Cincinnati are the best,” said Tomlin. “This is the only job that doesn’t feel like work.” A major responsibility for the Rally Pack is to send Tshirts and other giveaways into the crowd with a handheld gun or slingshot. “We like to see how high we can shoot it,” Sirk said. “We try to get it into the second and third row to show we appreciate them, too.” WE B E X TRA

Visit for a slideshow of the Rally Pack. summer 2010

16, and kept an updated résumé and cover letter,” Montgomery said. Montgomery took an interviewing class during her time at NKU, which helped teach her how to tailor her résumé and cover letter specifically to the jobs for which she was applying. She also took advantage of the Facebook and LinkedIn social media sites to get her name out there for employers to see. Montgomery kept working at Dillard’s and tried to make contacts whenever possible to network. By meeting new people and keeping a professional and alert attitude, Montgomery planted the seed for the job she now has. She also called the NKU Career Development Center and got a user name and password to log into NKU’s job-search engine called Norse Recruiting. Montgomery’s job history includes being an orientation leader on NKU’s campus, where she took incoming freshmen on tours around campus and introduced them to their surroundings in a fun environment to get them acquainted with the university. During this time, she made and kept good relations with her boss, which helped her land in her current role. “My boss at NKU told me about an open position at P&G that I interviewed for even before graduating. They filled the position, so I began looking other places for opportunities, like the Career Development Center, and so on,” said Montgomery. “In late August, I got an unexpected call from P&G for a similar position they wanted to interview me for. The process was long but well worth it.” Montgomery landed the job and is STORY Ashley Anglin now a marketing brand administraNKU Career Development Center helps alumni tor, where she designs coupons, puts together prize packages, sets up meetand undergraduates ings and gives input for marketing Liz Montgomery, an NKU graduAfter donning a cap and gown, materials and ideas. Overall, networkate from 2008, is one of the luckier getting a diploma and smiling for ing and being professional, likable grads. She was able to land at Procter and on her “A” game even at the jobs pictures, recent NKU graduates are & Gamble after a relatively brief leaving the cozy confines of camshe didn’t expect to find a future in six-month job search. While she was worked great for Montgomery. pus facing the worst job climate in decades. With double-digit unemploy- searching, she continued to work “Networking and being on top at a Dillard’s (a job that helped her ment, more than six million people of your game with every person you through college) while keeping her out of work and a gloomy economic meet can pay off in the end,” said outlook, recent graduates and alumni résumé circulating to get a job in her Montgomery. “By being optimistic and chosen field. who are among those who lost their putting yourself above the rest, you “I used search engines on the web, can definitely land a job even in this jobs are looking for anything to get such as and careertheir résumé to the top of the pile. tough economy.” no rth e r n

Here are a few job tips from the NKU Career Development Center for NKU alumni looking for work:


Visit NKU’s career development center

The Career Development Center at NKU is open to current students as well as NKU alumni, and it is free. The staff offers career counseling, résumé development and job-search techniques. The CDC also offers career assessment testing to find the right career choices for you and résumé help with no appointment required. The Career Development Center provides students and alumni with a job-posting site called Norse Recruiting (find the link at This site includes job postings from local companies who specifically target NKU students and alumni. The site requires a user name and password, which you can get from the Career Development Center. Counselors can help you to prepare for job interviews and provide you with many tips for every aspect of your job search. They can also keep you updated on special events, such as job fairs, occurring on campus throughout the year.

Get tailored

By customizing your pieces for each job opening, you sell yourself directly to the company and employer. Employers want to get a sense of your personality to ensure you will mesh well with existing staff members. Use your résumé and cover letter as a way to show the hiring manager who you are, but remember to keep them professional. Next, you can customize your résumé by adjusting your skills and interests to match and fit the needs of the employer. A generic résumé won’t grab a hiring manager’s attention; therefore, the best applications are highly targeted to the opportunity. You can do this by detailing how your skills and experience meet the potential employer’s exact needs. Last, customize your references for each job application. Your reference list should be fluid and targeted for the opportunity. Include those references you think can speak best for your most relevant skills for that position, not who has the most impressive job title.

Network online and off

Networking is still the number one way to find a position. You can network face to face or through new technology such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. However, remember not to post anything on a publicly accessible website that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Google yourself to see what comes up, because recruiters will see the same results. Word of mouth is still the best way to find a job. A referral from a contact can give you the extra edge you need to land a new position, especially in the current recession.

summer 2010

Be flexible, realistic and optimistic


Keep yourself open to many opportunities that could come your way. Keep in mind that temporary work, volunteer work, or part-time work can often turn into a full-time position. Even though the situation is unfair, stay positive so you can have the full impact on those you meet through networking.

Brand yourself

You want to attract potential employers to you rather than reaching out to them. That puts job seekers in a much better negotiating position than the reverse, even in the current economy. You want to manage your personal identity so that you become a high-priority target for recruiters. If you manage your personal brand effectively, you will develop a continuous stream of inbound inquiries with options for new opportunities.

Stay in the game

By performing temporary or volunteer work during unemployed time, you fill potential gaps of your résumé. Today’s hiring managers realize that many talented people are out of work right now through no fault of their own, so don’t feel as if you need to hide this fact. Instead, demonstrate that you’ve remained professionally engaged while searching for a new position by taking on volunteer or temporary work. This will make you look good and stand out among other unemployed applicants who haven’t taken any initiative to stay engaged.

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Internships key to career success story Ashley Anglin These days, getting an entry-level position is hard to do. Experience is everything, and without it, you’re on a tough road. At NKU, many majors are now requiring that students complete an internship or co-op as part of the graduation curriculum. December 2009 graduate Bryan Bastian, a communication studies major and marketing minor, has fulfillled his requirement by interning with the Delta Community Credit union in Atlanta, Ga. He helped the business development team in promoting the credit union and shared with the world what great packages and products they have to offer. He participated in many work efforts from setting up at a golf outing, to making presentations, to serving the community with Delta Community Credit by working with Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life. “I have learned that all of the education I have received from NKU is easily applicable to my work,” said Bastian. “By applying what I have done to a hands-on situation, I am gaining education I could not get from sitting in a classroom.” Bastian applied for this internship through the NKU job search available through the Career Development

Center on campus. He was granted an interview, which took place in the Career Development Center, and was offered the position. Bastian moved to Atlanta for a summer to complete his internship. He returned home in the fall to graduate, then headed back to Atlanta for an additional four months to finish the internship. “It has been a great opportunity to intern with the Delta Community Credit Union,” said Bastian. “It is nice to get away to concentrate on work and to get some time to myself.” Bastian agrees that an internship is a great way to receive real-world experience and is glad that he was required to complete one for graduation. He previously interned for River Downs working in advertising and promotions. “You can learn from every experience you encounter,” said Bastian. “The things I learned from River Downs have helped me and can relate to the things I did at the Delta Community Credit Union.” Internships have become one of the most important parts of a student’s college career. Whether paid or not, the experience is valuable and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Ashley Anglin, a 2010 graduate, was a summer intern.


Rockin’ your radio WNKU celebrates 25 years of great music story Trevor Burlew

You hit the “seek” button on your radio. You hear Britney singing something inappropriate. Hit seek before the kids hear... Country. Hit it again. More top 40. Then some oldies. Finally, when your digital readout goes back to the start of the dial, something different. Some folk, some rock, some bluegrass, some indie, maybe some dude that sounds like he’s from another era. That’s 89.7 WNKU, and NKU’s radio station celebrated 25 years in April.

summer 2010

Humble beginnings


Rick Pender, who is the director of institutional advancement with the Cincinnati Opera, was hired in 1984 to help build WNKU. He didn’t have much to start with. “I was given two classrooms and no equipment,” Pender said. “And they told me to make a radio station.” First, Pender needed to find some help. He started by hiring Ed McDonald, a well-known bluegrass DJ who would help establish WNKU’s bluegrass and folk sound. Although his ear was trained to pick out the best in bluegrass, McDonald was blind. One of WNKU’s early challenges was adapting the equipment for McDonald to use as well as switching all of the recordings over to Braille so that he could independently run his own show. It was people like McDonald who gave WNKU a personality and a sound of its own. “I hired a ton of people who were great to work with,” said Pender, “They really set the foundation for the station, not me.” It was this team that created a vision that would soon be the legacy of 89.7 WNKU. The goal was a radio station that didn’t duplicate a sound that was currently on the air while providing quality, unique programming for listeners in the Northern Kentucky area. Under the original name of Kentucky Folk Radio, WNKU was essentially half music radio and half news radio. Around 1991, the station adopted an adult album alternative format and removed the news aspect of the station – broadcasting music only with limited news, which is essentially the format in use today. “There’s nobody else that’s going to experiment with the new, independent artists,” said Aaron Sharpe, WNKU assistant GM for development. “For us, it’s about serving an audience that’s not being served.”

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The curious listener

The WNKU vision is unchanged under current general manager Chuck Miller. Although the music and format have changed slightly over the years, Miller still believes that WNKU is a station for the “curious listener.” Avoiding the mainstream hits that most stations play, WNKU has developed a listening audience that is constantly listening for new music. “We’re not real concerned about playing popular music because it’s popular,” said Miller. “We’re concerned about playing a sound. I’m very proud of what we’ve done.” The backing that WNKU has received from NKU’s leadership since its inception has been a driving force that has shaped the station. “The leadership at NKU gets not only our business but also the vision that we share with regard to community service,” Miller said. “We’re a local station, and underneath the music there is this underlying bent of community service, community partnership and educational partnership. We all understand that to succeed, we have to be engaged in the area that we serve.” A quick visit to the WNKU website shows photos of these efforts, from tree plantings to charity fundraisers to concerts at the Cincinnati Zoo. “I think it’s safe to say, WNKU sponsors more concerts in any given year than any other radio station in town,” Sharpe said. What’s next for WNKU? The station has the capability to add a second channel through HD radio, which could broadcast specific programming. The recent move to more music and less news has proven to be successful as the station celebrates its birthday. But despite any tweaks, the station plans to remain independent, committed to the community and a place to find something different on the radio dial. Will it continue to draw listeners and accolades? Miller thinks so. “I’m from Chicago, so I was born eternally optimistic,” Miller said. Burlew is an NKU senior and communications intern.

Extending our reach story Rob Pasquinucci


B&W photos by Aimie Willhoite

Service learning helps the community while giving NKU students valuable experience It’s 7 a.m. on a chilly Sunday in January. The NKU campus is silent as it’s still winter break, but a small group of students huddle around two white university vans. They are getting ready to head to “class.” In this case, class is held in a city 12 hours away – Moss Point, Miss., a town rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina and struggling with economic challenges. summer 2010


Another student heads to class in the early evening. This classroom is under a highway overpass or in a shelter, where she’ll use her camera to chronicle the lives of the homeless. NKU’s service-learning program has given students the chance to interact and engage with the community while enriching their academic study. The university defines the program as a course-based educational experience that meets a community need. Students then reflect on the experience to gain a deeper understanding of the course content, an enhanced sense of civic responsibility and a greater understanding of community life. More than 60 NKU classes incorporate a servicelearning component, from journalism students helping the homeless with writing skills to biology majors finding and removing invasive plant species from area parks. The university supports service-learning efforts with grants and encourages faculty to look for servicelearning opportunities whenever possible.

• Art education students teach classes at Ludlow Elementary. • English students help write grants for area nonprofits. • Nursing and radiology students work in a variety of local health agencies. • A stream in Tower Park (Ft. Thomas) clogged with decades-old rubble will get new life. The NKU Center for Applied Ecology will clear the debris and dig the stream out of underground pipes to return it to its natural state. The students who traveled to Moss Point were both graduate and undergraduate communication majors who conducted research through various methods during two week-long trips to the community. Eleven specific projects were completed, including communication audits of local organizations, an organizational culture audit of an at-risk school district, town-hall meetings, a citizen journalism workshop and a documentary film. The trip “made learning come alive” for Whitney Ross

“A lot of unexpected things can happen, but you have to be ready for the distasteful stuff to ensure that it doesn’t overshadow the joy and excitement of all the positive things.” Aimee Shandy, ’03, ’09

One of the ways service learning is advanced at NKU is with support from the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which provides some access to federal grants to NKU faculty and also conducts workshops on how to get started with service learning. Operating within the center is the Institute for Nonprofit Capacity, which was launched in August 2008 to work with nonprofits in Greater Cincinnati on collaboration, effectiveness and other capacity-building areas. INC has been a service-learning accelerator at NKU by serving as a matchmaker between nonprofits that want to work with NKU classes and vice versa. Nonprofits call INC and say, “I need...,” and the INC team then tries to find a class to meet the request. NKU has about 110 service-learning classes per year, and they are across disciplines. “From the center’s view, this is part of our role in developing citizenship and community stewards,” said Mark Neikirk, director of the center. “To be a wellrounded participant in your community now and after graduation, you also need to be engaged in the nonprofit community. Service learning is invaluable in teaching that value.” Here are some other recent examples of NKU service learning in action: • Students in Greg DeBlasio’s public relations cases and campaigns course used their skills to develop a campaign to help prevent teen smoking in Northern Kentucky. no rth e r n

Fletcher, ’06, ’09, who made the trip in 2008 as a communication graduate student. The trip was not without its challenges. The hours were long – student teams were working in the community nearly around the clock. Accommodations were tight, and students had to spend many hours working together. “A lot of unexpected things can happen, but you have to be ready for the distasteful stuff to ensure that it doesn’t overshadow the joy and excitement of all the positive things,” said Aimee Shandy, ’03, ’09. For students who worked on a documentary of the community, one of the positive things was showing the film to area residents who were grateful to have their story told. “This community wanted to have its story told, and I think our team was able to shed some light on their struggle,” said Sara Drabik, who went to Moss Point during grad school and is now the faculty advisor for Norse Media at NKU. NKU professors continue to find innovative ways to incorporate service learning into their courses. “It’s something we want to incorporate across the university,” Neikirk said. WE B E X TRA

Visit for a photo gallery.

joe wind

Julie Thoman-Perry


’80, ’81

Greg Mecher

Fred R. Roberts

Michael T. Vogt





Nancy L. Allf

Troy Hitch ’94


Diane Gronefeld ’77, ’89

alumni awards 2009

NKU honored several outstanding alumni at Homecoming this year. The following individuals exemplify NKU’s finest graduates.

Faculty/Staff Strongest Influence Award Joe Wind, ’86 The 2009 award for strongest influence goes to Joseph E. Wind. Wind serves as vice president for government and community relations at NKU and joined the NKU staff in 1998. In addition to his administrative roles, Wind has also taken the time to focus on NKU’s students. Wind teaches UNV 101 classes and has created the Future Leader Internship Program, an internship with the political science/criminal justice program that allows 20 students to intern with the state legislature and the executive branch of the government in Frankfort. Prior to his work at NKU, Wind served as the director of public affairs at Corporex Companies, Inc., general manager of Shandwick International Public Relations and senior vice president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Wind graduated from NKU in 1986, and since his return, he has been making an impact not only on the university but also on every student he comes in contact with. Wind has been a driving force at NKU and has had several accomplishments in the community. He believes in NKU, and with this belief, he works to improve the region through his hard work and dedication to the university. Wind spends countless hours in Frankfort to bring Northern Kentucky’s tax dollars back to the university. Although his job doesn’t require him to work directly with students, Wind continually arranges his schedule to

ensure his involvement around campus. Known for his ability to make student workers and interns feel as much a part of the decision-making process as administrators, students jump at the chance to work with him. Wind grew up in Northern Kentucky and now lives in Ft. Thomas with his wife, Patricia, and his two children, Kelsey and Reece. Distinguished Service Award Julie Thoman-Perry, ’80, ’81 Teacher, athlete, coach, leader and champion. These are some of the titles that Julie Thoman-Perry has held in her lifetime. She’s being honored for her dedication to athletics throughout her career. Thoman-Perry was a starter for the Norse women’s volleyball team all four years of her undergraduate stay at NKU. She was named to the KWIC All-Tournament Team in both 1976 and 1977 and was also given the NKU Athlete of Distinction Award. Thoman-Perry was one of the first women to receive a full athletics scholarship to NKU and played under renowned coach, and later athletics director, Jane Meier. Continuing her love for volleyball, Thoman-Perry took the position as St. Ursula Academy’s head coach in 1981, the same year she received her master’s degree from NKU. During her tenure at St. Ursula, she had more than 500 wins and led her team to eight state championships, more than any other Ohio coach in the sport. In 2003, she coached the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and won the national championship in New York City. Thoman-Perry summer 2010

alumni awards also coached swimming and diving for a few years at St. Ursula. Thoman-Perry now serves as chair of physical education and previously served as athletics director. After 27 years, Thoman-Perry stepped down as head coach to spend more time with her husband, Tim, and her two children, Jim and Catherine.


Outstanding Young Alumnus Greg Mecher, ’99 Greg Mecher’s impressive career in politics has earned him the 2009 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. Mecher has worked in Washington, D.C., ever since he graduated in 1999. Mecher served as an intern with former Kentucky Rep. Ken Lucas in 1999. During his undergraduate years, he was a campus leader, holding the office of president in the Student Government Association, and he was a resident assistant and a fraternity member. Mecher has always been an advocate for the university and works to make a difference in the lives of the people in our community and the nation. Since graduation, Mecher has worked for the Democratic National Committee for the 2004 presidential race as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 election. Last year, Mecher was named chief of staff by Congressman Steve Driehaus. Mecher always hoped that he would be able the tie his work back to Ohio, and now he is very excited to work with the congressman representing his hometown.

Outstanding Alumnus Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business Michael T. Vogt, ’74 Michael Vogt is being honored for his long career and record of achievement in the field of human resources. Vogt is vice president of human resources and general affairs at Mazak Corp., the North American arm of one of the world’s leading machine tool companies, Yamazaki Mazak Corp., based in Japan. Vogt has more than 30 years’ experience as a human resource professional and has been a regional leader in the industry. He is a member and past president of the Northern Kentucky Human Resources Association and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management. He also has been a member of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce board of directors and executive committee. Vogt gives back to NKU and the community – serving on the advisory board of the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business. He also serves on the board of the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority and the Panorama Senior Citizens Living Community board of directors, and he is a past member of the United Way of Kentucky board of directors. Vogt has been married for 32 years to Katherine, and the couple has two daughters, Candace and Lauren. Outstanding Alumnus College of Informatics Fred R. Roberts, ’84 Fred Roberts has been on the cutting edge of technology since graduating from Northern Kentucky University in 1984 with a double major in computer science and psychology. Roberts’ first position after graduation was as a programmer for IBM in New York, working on software for radar systems. After his stay at IBM, he moved to Germany, where he worked as a systems analyst for Siemens. While in Germany Roberts became fluent in German, and in 1999, his interest in psychology was reawakened and he earned the German equivalent of a master’s degree in the field. With this new opportunity to explore both of his interests, Roberts turned his attention to artificial intelligence. Roberts tackled the difficult task of writing a program that would be able to convince humans that it is human through conversation alone. Roberts wrote his program so that the conversation would be conducted with an onscreen robot. The goal was to make the robot carry a conversation with a panel of judges and convince them that it had human reasoning capabilities by the responses it gave to the panel. Roberts’ program was called Elbot, and his award was the bronze medal in the Loebner Prize in 2008. Outstanding Alumna College of Education and Human Services Myra E. Morgan, ’95, ’05, ’09 (Picture unavailable) Myra Morgan is being honored for excellence in the field of teaching. She has been a primary teacher in the Gallatin County School District since 1996, and in 2008 she won the Milken Foundation National Teacher of the Year Award. She also has been honored with the Northern Kentucky Golden Apple Award, the Campbellsville College

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Excellence in Teaching Award and the Gallatin County Elementary School Teacher of the Year Award. Morgan also serves on the district’s instructional leadership team and as the district kindergarten team leader. She also created kindergarten camp for incoming students and parents. Gallatin Schools Superintendent Dot Perkins calls Morgan “a strong leader who puts children first.” In her community, Morgan serves as the director of the Second Baptist Church children’s choir and has served as the boys’ basketball coach for the Junior League. The following quote from a parent sums up Morgan’s career: “I feel very strongly that my children and countless others will forever be blessed for having the opportunity to have Ms. Morgan in their lives.” Morgan has been married to her husband, Dale, for 18 years. The couple has two children, Kristian, 15, and Peyton, 9. Outstanding Alumnus College of Arts and Sciences Troy Hitch, ’94 Troy Hitch’s work in the field of film and interactive development earned him and his company national attention and now has earned him an award from his alma mater. Hitch describes himself as a multifaceted, cutting-edge creator with more than a decade of experience in creative direction, client relationship management and the direct leadership of diverse teams to develop breakthrough interactive brand experiences that deliver real business results. Hitch has pioneered new and more effective ways to combine branded content and social media to connect consumers to brands. Hitch is a three-time Webby Award winner and nationally recognized industry trailblazer featured in Time, Wired, AdAge, The Los Angeles Times and NPR. Hitch has created and produced You Suck at Photoshop, a series of comedic web programs that developed a huge following and provided tutorials for Photoshop users. Hitch has created breakthrough content experiences for major corporations and is producing web/TV hybrid content for cable networks. He is also president and provost emeritus of Big Fat University (

ty Bar Association and the Clark County Bar Foundation. Her professional memberships also include the American Bar Association, National Conference of Bar Presidents, American Bankruptcy Institute, Outstanding Lawyers of America, Southern Nevada Association of Bankruptcy Attorneys, Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys and the Social Register of Las Vegas. She has been the recipient of many awards throughout her prominent career, including honors from Super Lawyers magazine, In Business magazine, the Clark County pro bono project, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Outstanding Young Woman of America. During the Las Vegas Centennial Celebration in 2005, she was named one of 300 women who shaped the history of Las Vegas. Allf received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., and is a past recipient of Transylvania’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She is actively involved in numerous civic, charitable and nonprofit organizations and is a frequent speaker. Allf resides in Las Vegas with her husband, David V. Thomas.

Outstanding Alumna College of Health Professions Diane Gronefeld, ’77, ’89 Diane Gronefeld began her association with NKU as a member of the first graduating class in radiologic technology. She was recently honored for 20 years of service to the university as a faculty member in that same program, which certainly speaks to her never-ending commitment and dedication to NKU as well as to the radiologic technology discipline. During her time at NKU, Gronefeld has helped prepare almost 500 registered radiographers, many of whom practice in this community caring for and touching the lives of countless patients. She has never lost her passion and enthusiasm for her profession or for teaching, and she serves as a professional role model for students. As faculty advisor to the student Rad Tech Club, she encourages students to participate in community engagement activities, such as volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and Service on Saturday. Gronefeld has accepted the challenge of emerging technology in healthcare with joy and embraces the endless possibilities, and she shares her views with students. She is a respected educator in the radiography discipline and has coauthored a textbook, workbook, pocket guide and CD on radiographic Outstanding Alumna Salmon P. Chase College of Law anatomy and procedures. She has successfully completed Nancy L. Allf, ’82 several Faculty Senate project grants and sabbatical projNancy L. Allf received her Juris Doctor from Salmon ects that have been designed to enhance student learning P. Chase College of Law in 1982. Allf practices in Las of radiographic anatomy. She has given presentations at Vegas, Nev., and served as the president of the State the local, regional and national level and has also coauBar of Nevada in 2007. She has practiced in the areas of thored scholarly articles on pathology and research in commercial litigation, business law and bankruptcy for her discipline. the past 27 years. Until November, she practiced with Gronefeld resides in Erlanger with her husband and the law firm of Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan, where she biggest supporter, Tony. She maintains active memberwas chair of its bankruptcy practice group. She recently opened her own law practice in Las Vegas and is current- ships in several professional radiography organizations. ly a candidate for district judge in Clark County, Nev. Allf is admitted to practice in Nevada; the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth CirWE B E X TRA cuit; the U.S. Tax Court; and the U.S. Supreme Court. Visit for videos of the award winners. Allf previously served as president of the Clark Counsummer 2010




alumni journal Gatherings Snowy Homecoming Snowy weather greeted our Homecoming events this year, but that didn’t keep alumni from returning to campus to meet old friends. Photos from the weekend appear on these pages, and you can read about our honorees on page 23. We have more events scheduled for the coming months. Visit the alumni home page to see what’s coming up, and let us know if you’d like to start an alumni club in your area or if you have an idea for an event. Your Alumni Council has been busy laying the groundwork for future activities and outreach. The board has been restructured to mirror NKU’s college structure, and we will be offering more activities tailored to specific college alumni groups. You’ll hear more about these efforts in the coming months. A couple of dates to keep on your calendar – the 2010 Alumni Lecture Series is set for October 27 here in the Student Union ballroom, and Homecoming for 2011 is set for January 28. The magazine you’re holding was recently honored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District III. This is the professional development organization for higher education advancement employees. Northern was part of a banner year for NKU, with the university winning a record seven awards from the organization. As always, keep us posted on what’s new in your life. E-mail class notes to, and send a highresolution photo for us to include in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Remember, class notes are published both online at northernmagazine.nku. edu and in print on these pages.




Deidra Fajack Director Alumni Programs and Licensing


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1) Matt Miller, Cynthia Siddens, Kristen Estepp and Jason Streety enjoy each other’s company at the post-game alumni Homecoming party. 2) Alumni enjoy the chili cookoff during 2010 Homecoming activities. 3) Julie Thoman-Perry and Greg and Kathy Cole at the post-game alumni Homecoming party. 4) Alumni NKU employees enjoyed lunch on the quad during this year’s Spring Fling event. 5) NKU is proud to employ nearly 800 alumni as employees. A celebration honoring them was held this past spring on campus. 6) Catherine Rothfuss and Debbie Billings visit during the alumni homecoming awards event. 7) The chili cookoff was good to the last spoonful.


Visit for a Homecoming photo gallery.

summer 2010


ALUMNI on the move


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A Marathon Man on a Mission STORY Carolyn Blair Skyler Steinman doesn’t come across as a hardcore athlete. His conventional appearance and soft-spoken nature lend him a more laidback than competitive spirit. He even prides himself on his normalcy, claiming to be just an ordinary guy with ordinary goals for himself and his wellbeing. “I don’t eat carrot sticks or celery or anything like that,” he said. “It is not like I am an elite athlete.” But the ambition that lies behind Steinman’s humble disposition is far from ordinary. This 1994 graduate of Northern Kentucky University practically lives a double life: By day, he is an no rth e r n

event producer for Avatar Production and Design, creating anything from the whimsical North Pole for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights to a Grecian metropolis populated with gold- and silver-painted people for the tennis masters series in Mason, Ohio. But by night, his focus shifts from creating cities to visiting cities, with one ultimate goal in mind: To run a marathon in every U.S. state, plus Washington, D.C., and the remaining six continents. Steinman never set out to run 57 marathons, but an unfortunate chain of events led him to take on this challenge, which he now describes as

“the best decision I have ever made in my life.” It might be tempting to disregard this feat as a natural ability taken to the next level, but Steinman is quick to rebuff that assumption. He never spent a day of his life on the track team. “I didn’t gravitate toward athletics back in school,” he said. “Running is always something that’s been done on my own.” He started taking long runs for therapeutic reasons – to clear his head and have time alone – and he viewed the physical benefits as an added bonus. Eventually, though, he hit a wall in his life that he couldn’t run through. The ordeal started innocently: with a dream to be a part of his favorite sports team, the Cincinnati Reds. “I played baseball when I was young but didn’t have a great a talent,” he said. He instead focused on graduating from NKU and getting a job in the Reds’ events department. He was initially turned down by the organization because of his lack of experience, but he continued to apply periodically for years. “The crushing blow came when they turned me down for an entry-level position,” he said. Just as he was grappling with this perceived injustice and the loss of his fantasy career, he was dealt another crushing blow: His father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003, and his brother found out he had leukemia in 2004. The family dog even passed away during this time when it was mauled by another dog. It was unfathomable to Steinman that so many hardships could befall one family, and he was left reeling from the misfortune. He began to wonder if all there was to life was pain and suffering. To keep from breaking down, Steinman turned to the one constant in his life: running. He decided to run the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon May 7, 2006. Having never run 13.1 miles before, he wondered what he was doing, but he didn’t want to back out. He needed to see it through, if only to feel truly alive again for that one day. Rejuvenated by his first marathon

experience, he knew he wanted it to be about more than running a race; he wanted it to be an inspiration. He immediately made plans to visit a friend in Nottingham, England, that September and run the Robin Hood Half Marathon. “I realized that if I was going to run in England, it is possible to run on all seven continents, and then I thought ‘Why not hit all 50 states too?’” he said. The goal was to show his family and friends that life was worth living and any challenge could be overcome. “It was the only thing I had to offer; I couldn’t change their circumstances, but I hoped to inspire them in their own lives,” he said. Even with his family as motivation, the road to 57 hasn’t always been smooth. In Connecticut, Steinman experienced some major self-doubt when he took two weeks off work and made the drive up to New England alone. “I ran the Boston Half Marathon the week before the Hartford Half Marathon; they were on back-to-back weekends,” he said. “It was an expensive trip that left me doubting if this was what I was supposed to do.” Inadvertently, Steinman met another runner during that trip who invited him to church with his family. “It was just what I needed that

cramp and all, limping by the morning camera crews as they filmed other runners whizzing by. Although he could barely put any pressure on his leg, he hobbled through the pain and eventually crossed the finish line. Steinman has run next to people in wheelchairs and encountered others with disabilities that would sideline the average person. During the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., he saw a husband and wife team running together, which was pretty typical with one exception: The husband was blind. The man ran behind his wife and held onto her elbows while she called out commands for turns and stops. “They called themselves ‘The Blonde Leading the Blind,’” he said. “It was pretty inspirational.” But the crowning achievement in his racing adventure occurred just last year. “The New York City Marathon was my first and only full so far. It was my 19th race overall – a third of the way through the 57 needed,” he said. Steinman’s first time in NYC had him running his way through all five boroughs, from Staten Island to Central Park. He reached the finish line exhausted, but there was another part of him that never wanted it to end. “It was such an unforgettable

2008, which will help alleviate some of the financial burden. “When an international company the size of Kentucky Fried Chicken offers support, it’s impossible not to feel uplifted,” he said. “They helped strengthen my resolve.” As a way of thanking KFC, Steinman has plans to create Harland’s Heroes, a grassroots effort to organize a variety of charities under their founder’s name, Colonel Harland Sanders. Steinman hopes it will encourage athletes to couple their races with raising money and awareness for important causes. The NKU alum even got to join the ranks of Col. Sanders when Gov. Steve Beshear commissioned him a Kentucky Colonel exactly 30 years after Steinman’s father received his own appointment back in 1979. Moved by the stories he heard and the runners he met along this journey, Steinman decided to start Faces in Races (, a website that connects athletes and their supporters. In this forum, people can encourage one another on a global scale by sharing their stories and photographs from around the world. He may be the one running the marathons, but Steinman proves through his actions that this mission is not truly his

“When an international company the size of Kentucky Fried Chicken offers support, it’s impossible not to feel uplifted. They helped strengthen my resolve.” night. When I left there, I had more questions answered,” he said. Steinman was surprised to find that the hardest part of the races was conquering the emotional challenges rather than the physical ones. But that does not mean he is immune to the whims of the human body. While running the Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon, he was crippled by a leg cramp in the early stages of the race. He forged ahead anyway,

experience. The Yankees may have won the World Series that weekend, but we were kings for a day,” he said. After this spring, Steinman’s goal is to run full marathons for the remainder of his journey, which will take him most of this decade. He would prefer it take less time, but his financial situation limits him to about four races annually. However, KFC offered Steinman an ongoing sponsorship just before his home-state race in Louisville in April

own. “This is more outward focused,” he said. “That is the main thing.” In many ways running a marathon mirrors life – when the desire to quit during the run takes over, or there is a huge hill to climb, or no one is running nearby and loneliness creeps in, the only thing to do is find the inner strength that resides in us all and focus on crossing the finish line. Keep moving forward. That is the victory, not only in a race but also in life. summer 2010




1974 Bill Scheyer was recently named Vision 2015’s second full-time president. As president, Scheyer will be responsible for the strategic direction and operations of the organization that manages the implementation of Northern Kentucky’s 10-year strategic plan, launched in 2005. Before coming to Vision 2015, Scheyer was president of Southbank Partners, Inc., an organization committed to promoting economic impact within Northern Kentucky’s river cities. Prior to Southbank, Scheyer served as city administrator for the City of Erlanger for more than 18 years. He has served as president of both the Northern Kentucky and statewide city/county management associations. Earlier in his career, Scheyer spent 20 years in the healthcare field.


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Elevator men Two NKU alumni help move you Most people don’t think much about elevators. You push the button. It lights up. The doors open. The doors close. You move up or down. Doors open. You get out. But Matt Steffens, ’07, his brother Gary, ’05, and his father, Brian, think about them all the time. The Steffenses are partners in Advance Elevator, which sells and services elevators around the tri-state, including all the elevators on NKU’s main campus. “A lot of people think you ride inside the cab and that’s all there is to them,” Brian Steffens said. “If anything’s not just right, it won’t do what it’s supposed to do.” Consider the glass elevator that glides up and down the center of Steely Library. The elevator is hydraulic, which means it does not have a counterweight or cables. Underneath the car is a piston, which is pushed by hydraulic oil, which, in turn, pushes the elevator car up and down the track. That piston runs down a 70-foot cylinder. All of this is controlled by a series of switches, wires and valves, all of which can fail. “A lot of people have this phobia about elevators, but safety-wise, we check them once a year and the state comes in and checks what we’re doing,” Brian Steffens said. Brian is proud of his sons’ NKU education and is happy to have them help with the business. “Matt’s doing a good job. He handles the sales end of it, and I do the servicing,” Brian Steffens said, adding that his other son, Gary, helps him on service calls.

web extra

Visit to check out a slideshow explaining how an elevator works. no rth e r n

His involvement in community visioning in Northern Kentucky began with his participation in the Quest process in 1995, and he continued as an active partner and volunteer in the implementation of Vision 2015.

1976 Judge Gayle Hoffman (Chase ’80) was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to fill an opening in the family division of the Campbell County Circuit Court. Hoffman had been in private practice in Elsmere, Ky., with a focus on family law for 29 years. Hoffman is married to James Parsons, ’76, Chase ’80, and they have two daughters, Clair and Audrey. Tom Stott is vice president of Parsons Corp. in Alabama. He is retired from the U.S. Army after 26 years.

1977 Rick Meyers was recently honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education-Kentucky with the Beth Fields Award. The award is in recognition of dedication to CASE-Kentucky and outstanding achievement in the advancement field. Meyers is the assistant vice president for marketing communications at NKU. His wife, Paula, is a 1980 graduate of NKU.

1980 William D. Mullins has a son currently at NKU and a second son planning to attend NKU in the fall.

ALUMNI on the move

1981 Nancy C. Nelson (Chase) retired in 2005 as an assistant district attorney. She currently serves as a Spring Grove, Mont., city council member.

1982 Daniel Scharff (Chase ’90) has been named chief financial officer and general counsel for The Urology Group/The Urology Center in Norwood. Scharff will be responsible for managing the financial aspects of the business as well as providing internal advice and counsel on legal issues. He has served as outside corporate counsel for the group since the early 1990s. Prior to practicing law, he served as vice president of Newport National Bank, which is now part of U.S. Bank.

1988 Jakki L. Haussler (Chase) was recently named to the Cincinnati Bell board of directors. Haussler, 50, is chair and chief executive officer of Opus Capital Group, a Cincinnati-based registered investment advisory firm specializing in small capitalization value equity management. She is also a partner in Adena Ventures LP, a company providing capital and expertise to businesses in central Appalachia, and is a partner/ managing director in Capvest Venture Fund LP, a venture capital fund licensed as a small business investment company. Previously, she served as managing director of investment banking for a regional investment banking firm and as manager for Blue Chip Venture Company, both in Cincinnati. John M. Sebree attended the UN conference on global climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, last year as an observer delegate.

1990 Hollee Temple reports she works as a computer programmer and part-time English teacher in Florida. Her first nonfiction title, The Florida Quiz Book,

Earning her wings NKU alumna Lisa Willacker loves to fly


It isn’t the flying that makes Dr. Lisa Willacker nervous. As her Air Care helicopter swoops and zooms over snarled I-75 rush-hour traffic, the 1999 NKU graduate is calm and prepared for whatever emergency lies ahead. Her training at NKU and at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine combined with her long hours of residency have trained her to handle whatever awaits. But thoughts can naturally wander to her 6-year-old son at home when she is on a flight. “I can just picture what might happen when he goes swimming or on a bike ride,” she said. “I realize kids are going to be cases, and that puts (those thoughts) back into your brain. It’s hard not to put him in a rubber room.” On the job, Willacker is prepared for anything as the helicopter descends on an accident scene and is ready to assess and treat people in need. She flies to keep her skills sharp, but the majority of her job now is to teach residents the skills needed in emergency medicine. She likes teaching, and she can empathize with the challenges residents face. She said the early years of residency can be rough. “It’s no myth,” she said. “Long hours, not a lot of sleep.” Willacker remembers once falling asleep standing up. Teaching residents, she said, helps her to “keep [her] eyes on the ball.” Willacker still volunteers to do these Air Care shifts because she also still enjoys being in the field. “I get a chance to go to my EMS roots,” she said. “It’s fun to interact with the firefighters and paramedics. I think my expertise can help them in the field.” Those roots run deep. Willacker’s mom was an EMT, so she grew up around emergency medicine and always knew she’d focus on that area in her career. The Air Care crew (pilot, nurse and doctor) handles trauma cases and hospital transfers. The ’copter can make a run from West Chester to the main UC campus in Clifton in less than 10 minutes. Willacker still remembers her first flight. “I think I was scared to death,” she said. “I was a second-year resident, and it was just me and a nurse back there.” She has now grown accustomed to these runs. As a doctor, she’s prepared for just about anything. Willacker said her NKU experience, with small classes and hands-on learning opportunities, prepared her for medical school and her career. She tells students who aspire to follow in her footsteps to take plenty of chemistry and biology classes and find opportunities to work in medicine outside of the classroom. summer 2010

CLASS NOTES was published by Pineapple Press. She currently lives in south Florida.



Dr. Alex Lentsch has been awarded the Dr. Charles Bertram Alumni Award of Distinction for 2010. Lentsch currently serves as the vice chairman of research and professor of surgery at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine.

1992 Jim Ransdell recently opened The Kentucky Shop in Florence. The store offers Kentucky Wildcats memorabilia. Ransdell is a graphic designer who’s done work for the University of Kentucky and also runs

1998 Matthew Steffen has returned for his third year as the chair of the fringe visual selection committee for the 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Steffen lives in Newport, Ky., and is a freelance photographer and graphic designer.

1999 Amanda Crowe Bledsoe recently celebrated the publication of her first children’s picture book, Chores, S’mores! The book is designed to encourage children to do their chores without complaining. It promotes positive behavior and exposes children to the negatives of whining and complaining from a perspective they can understand. The release of the book is an approach to help Highland County Children Services with the funding issues they are experiencing. Half of the net proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the organization in support of foster parents, who open their hearts and homes to neglected children.

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notable norse Smith has an eye for art Even as a student at NKU, Nathan Smith, ’94, had a strong appreciation for art “I’d get off the elevator on the eighth floor (in the Lucas Administrative Center) and see the (Frank) Duveneck painting,” Smith said. “I thought it was beautiful.” Smith also had an appreciation for preserving history. When not in class, he spent many of his undergraduate days in the university archives, helping to catalog and preserve NKU’s early years. So it isn’t surprising to find that years later Smith, his wife and children live in a Ft. Mitchell house whose previous occupants were both Kentucky artists. Smith has cultivated an art collection of his own, including several Duveneck pieces. “I bought my first original piece when I was 30,” Smith said. The Smiths, along with the Kenton County Library, Kimberly Owens Plummer, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Cody, and the Christopher Gist Historical Society, loaned several pieces of Frank Duveneck art to Steely Library for a recent exhibit celebrating the artist. The university, with the support of the Christopher Gist Historical Society, also recently had the portrait of Frank Duveneck’s mother, Catherine Siemers Duveneck, restored. The rejuvenated 1902 painting sits in the Schlachter Archives on the first floor of the Steely Library.

ALUMNI on the move


History buff Alum Vanessa Van Zant is director of Cincinnati History Museum

If you met Vanessa Van Zant, ’03, as a kid, you could easily predict what her future career path would be. She was the little girl in the backyard with filthy hands digging up Indian arrowheads. During summer vacation, she begged her parents to take her to historically significant destinations like Gettysburg or the Smithsonian museums. Flash forward a few years, and it isn’t surprising to see Van Zant has recently been named director of the Cincinnati History Museum at Union Terminal. “I want to retire from here,” Van Zant said. Clearly, she’s found her dream job, but her path wasn’t always clear. “I didn’t take a traditional path,” Van Zant said. She started as a pre-med student at Xavier before transferring to NKU to study anthropology and history. After graduation, she worked as a flight attendant and a few other jobs while volunteering at the museum. When she saw an opportunity for a full-time job as the museum’s children’s program presenter, she jumped at the chance. Within two years, she was promoted to manager of youth programs. Part of her job was to plan overnight visits for children to the museum. She also picked up a graduate certificate in museum studies from University of Cincinnati while working at the center, rounding out her education and preparing her for more responsibilities. In 2008, she was promoted to be the Cincinnati Museum Center’s manager of special projects and traveling exhibits.

In this job, she was in charge of the staffing, programming and daily operations of major traveling exhibits. “I learned a lot about myself in that job,” Van Zant said. She found herself having to answer questions when the controversial (and wildly popular) Bodies exhibit came to the museum center. With more than 300,000 visitors, she was working long hours to keep things running smoothly. In 2009, Van Zant began her role as director of the Cincinnati History Museum. In this role, she’s able to fully pursue her passion of history and share it with museum visitors. “I feel it’s important to look at things in the past to help you in the future,” Van Zant said. “I think it’s important specifically to Cincinnati’s community leaders. It is important to understand the history of your area.” Van Zant and her staff are dedicated to keeping Cincinnati’s history alive. The museum gives visitors a chance to sit on an old streetcar (while listening to a Reds broadcast), view historical objects and visit the public landing as it appeared many years ago. “We need to appeal to different audiences,” Van Zant said. That means giving children a chance to see, hold and touch historical artifacts while giving adults an opportunity to learn things about their community they may not have known. At home, Van Zant and her husband have two daughters that keep them busy. You probably can guess where the family is planning their next trip. summer 2010



Chris Cole (’99, ’04, ’09 Chase) passed the Kentucky Bar exam in October 2009. Cole has been the director of media relations and communications at NKU since 2002.

2000 Cara Hannah Sullivan reports she is a wigmaker and hairdresser for Saturday Night Live. Sullivan has also styled hair for Today Show and Access Hollywood. Sullivan’s professional wig and hair design work has been seen on some of the nation’s premier national stages. Justin Glaser will star as the Beast this summer, June 8-13, in Beauty and the Beast at the Durham, N.C., Performing Arts Center.

2001 Danielle Howard has been promoted to director of life and disability income customer service at Ohio National Financial Services in Blue Ash. Howard has been with the company since 2001.

2003 Anthony Beatty, Jr., reports he earned an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix in 2006 and is married with three daughters.

2006 Ashlee Hummeldorf has recently received her Master of Library Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She currently works in the Homebound Department of the Kenton County Public Library, where she delivers books and other library materials to people who cannot make it to the library because of physical or medical reasons.

2007 Beth R. Devantier will be traveling to Bangladesh with Dr. Shamima Ahmed and nine other students during the summer of 2010 for an inaugural study-abroad course. She will be working with Grameen Bank, and they will be participating in Grameen’s international internship program, which gives micro-credit loans to enable families to overcome poverty. no rth e r n

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Finding the next big thing Ralles helps P&G find innovations Got a good idea or invention? NKU alumna Mary Ralles wants to hear from you. Ralles, ’97, works on Procter & Gamble’s Connect + Develop initiative, which finds innovations that can be used in the company’s products. According to the company, 50 percent of P&G’s new products can be traced to outside inventors. “When discussions start around a new technology or idea, you can feel the excitement and eagerness,” Ralles said. “That’s what my role is about – helping to find new leads for partnerships, creating and tapping into new networks that will help the business side advance open innovation efforts.” Ralles’ role is to help spread the word about P&G’s needs to potential external partners. “Think of them as our ‘consumer,’” Ralles said. “These ‘consumers’ can be small companies, big companies, even individuals. If they have something we need, we don’t care where good ideas come from, so long as they come to P&G first.” “My role is unique in that I play across traditional public relations areas as well as marketing plans. It offers a wide variety of outlets for creativity and strategies,” Ralles said. “And my role lets me embrace my entrepreneurial side and find new ways to meet business objectives.” Part of Ralles’ job is to find networks to tap into creative ideas. “That’s why we want to share information with universities and alumni like NKU, so we can share business interests and explore the possibilities of working together in the future,” Ralles said. “We also send technology needs/business interests out through a global network of contacts to see if they have what we’re looking for. If NKU alumni or faculty or even current students would like to be a part of the P&G network, we can make sure they receive future messages about what P&G is looking for.” To sign up, visit Ralles’ was a nontraditional student at NKU. She earned a B.A. in journalism and started her career at Great American Insurance while freelancing for the Kentucky Post and Kentucky Enquirer. She started at P&G as an administrative assistant in the legal department and moved into management in 2006. “I am living proof that P&G is a company that promotes from within,” Ralles said. “And I take great pride in saying that. I love working for a company with such a rich and long heritage – and one that places great importance on social responsibility and helping improve the lives of others.”

Louis D. Kelly (Chase) will be joining Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing PLLC as an associate, the firm recently announced. Kelly will be practicing in the firm’s civil litigation and government practice groups. He received his undergraduate degree in business at the University of Kentucky and graduated from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in 2007. For the last several years, he has worked for the Boone County attorney’s office. Jeff Winter recently passed all requirements and is now a certified management accountant. He received his CMA from the Institute of Management Accountants.

Still a mystery



Security National Automotive Acceptance Corp. hired Ben Hensley as director of business development, and he will lead the newly formed business development group, which is part of the SNAAC sales and marketing department.

Kimbaird Avant has joined the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute and University Hospital as manager of the UC Brain Tumor Center. He will be responsible for operational efficiencies and center development.

In his new role with SNAAC, Hensley is responsible for developing and enhancing core company programs and creating future product offerings.

Kelsey Meyers, daughter of Paula, ’80, and Rick, ’77, ’80, Meyers, recently married Nick Hamilton.

Hensley has nine years of experience in the financing industry. Previously, he spent 6.5 years with U.S. Bank as assistant vice president of consumer finance, where he had oversight of loan products and was responsible for maintaining relationships, including Dealers’ Financial Services LLC in Lexington, Ky.

Tiffany (Althoff) Taylor graduated magna cum laude from NKU December 19, 2009, the same day she was married. Several of Tiffany’s friends attended the wedding after graduating that morning, including one of the groomsmen.

Tell us what you’re up to! Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone: (________)_________________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Grad year/major: _______________________________________________________________________________ What’s new with you? New baby? Spouse an NKU grad? New job or a promotion? Earn another degree since you left Northern? __________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The idea of going green isn’t new at NKU. In this archive photo, which ran in the last issue of Northern , an NKU student is doing her part to green up the campus. Question is, who is she, and what was this event part of? If you know, e-mail NKU archivist Lois Hammill at and help us solve the mystery. More mystery photos are online at http:///

Send to: NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY Office of Alumni Programs 421 Johns Hill Road Highland Heights, KY 41099 Are you firmly planted in the digital age? Then fill out our online form to let us know what’s new with you. If you’ve got a new baby, we’ll send a gift for your baby!

summer 2010


nonprofit organization u. s. postage



burlington, VT

421 Johns hill road

permit no. 540

Highland Heights, KY 41099

Mystery Photo? Long before they were developing proposals for affordable housing in Haiti, NKU construction management students have been involved in projects across the region and around the nation. Here, two NKU students are working on their own project. Question is, who are they and what are they working on? If you know, e-mail NKU archivist Lois Hammill at and help us solve the mystery. More mystery photos are online at http:/// Photo credit: Schlachter Archives

Northern Magazine Summer 2010  

Northern Magazine Summer 2010

Northern Magazine Summer 2010  

Northern Magazine Summer 2010